Restoring a barn-fresh 1966 Sears Allstate

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Paris CVMG Rally – 2014

This year we decided to bring a plethora of bikes in a cubevan. We thought we were being smart and prepared but of course wrangling children, bikes and getting out of town on a Friday afternoon was a bit challenging.

We managed to stuff into a cube van the following:

  • 3 x Norton Commando
  • 1 x Honda Ascot
  • 1 x Puch with sidecar

As other years it was a scramble to Paris and we arrived at the registration desk with 5 min to spare (7:55pm).

Here are a few photos to give a taste of the weekend.

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Dead of winter – parts on order

Eight inches of snow fell in the last few days and it feels like winter! The garage is nice and cozy and Alison has kindly taken our children to her mother’s house for the weekend.  That leaves me free to waste time ordering motorcycle parts and dreaming of warm weather and children bouncing in the sidecar!

Yesterday while Paul and I were trying to master walnut shell blasting (not so good), I was looking at my Velorex 560 and realized I really should get it the proper sized rim and tire.  I had to take a look at the rim and try to figure out which is the hub I’ve got as it determines spoke length. I am ordering parts from http://www.jawamarkt.cz/en. The language is a bit odd on the website but I believe that “ribbing upward” refers to the 360 style of hub (shown below).

I am hoping that the shipping will be reasonable, but I’ve ordered some Hungarian tires too so it might be a bit heavy! I will use the same tires on the Puch as well – might as well go exotic!

360 Jawa hub

I need to rebuild the shocks and forks on the Puch, so I’ll place an order with the Austrians for parts soon. I suppose I should really look at the wheel bearings and brake shoes while I am pushing for road safety certification.

I need a rear tire for my Norton 750 Commando too and want to repair the bondo that poped out. This time I will use fiberglass to make up the difference and just use bondo for a final finish.

Dreams of BMW’s are on hold for the moment… sigh.

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My Velorex 560

Back in the summer of ’88 I bought a Horex Regina poster at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Since then I have been staring at this poster – dreaming that one day I would have  cool vintage bike with an awesome sidecar.

Now that I have a little one and a funky old bike (the Puch Allstate 250 SGS) that’s suitable for a hack, I thought it was time to see what’s out there.

I won’t go into the history and classification of sidecars – but I  determined that I need something light weight for the small displacement PUCH, and it defiantly needs to have some style. The Puch 250 seems like a perfect sidecar rig, it has lots of low end torque, a pressed steel frame, unlike the Norton Commando isolastic system that wouldn’t tolerate a side car, finally it isn’t a  racing thoroughbred, so attaching a sidecar isn’t a travesty.

A quick look on ebay reveals that there are no end of Chinese CJ and Russian Dnepr rigs out there. A few weeks ago I took a freshly imported CJ for a spin and it was HEAVY – the bike had been rebuilt with FAG bearings, disk brake (Nissin knock off) and snazzy matte Wehrmacht gray paint, but I think I’ve driven smoother tractors.  I tried to tip/pick up the sidecar – couldn’t get it off the ground, if you are crossing the Mongolian Steppe, I suppose robust construction is the order of the day.

I really like the Indian Cozy sidecars, they are knocking-off the Watsonian zeppelin style and Steib/Stoye “canoe nose” sidecars. I contemplated a sidecar for my Vespa 125, but ultimately decided that I really like riding my scoot, and I doubt it would be strong enough to lug the extra weight of a steel sidecar even with the DR177 hop-up.

Vespa with Cozy Sidecar
Vespa with Cozy Sidecar

The Velorex 562, which there are plenty to choose from on the market,  looks far too similar to a Thule roof-box for my taste.

…no matter how  you try to distract me (there’s so much wrong with this photo I don’t know where to start).

This brings me to the  fun stuff. The former  Eastern block had need for cheap transport, and while there wasn’t great variety there was an attempt to make the only choice a stylish choice.

The Velorex 560 was introduced in the early 1950s and produced until 1974 when it was replaced with the 562. The 560 is a fiberglass body on a simple chassis designed for 250 and 350 Jawa motorcycles.  For the domestic market they came in a burgundy/red, export was black.

The 560 shares the same brake and wheels as the Jawa bike, and parts are available (in English) from vendors in the  Czech Republic such as Jawamarkt.cz.

I picked up mine last weekend – it’s in great shape, mostly there (missing the interior sidepadding, latch for the seat lock, Velorex logo and tonneau cover.) it was previously attached to a couple of Triumphs, before that it was owned by a former policeman, not sure what he had it on.
Here it is loaded on my little trailer – previous owners planning on what to do with their fist’o cash.

Here’s a better shot on the trailer. Haven’t had a chance to take it off yet! I have only been able to find one person (http://allstateguy.tripod.com) that has a sidecar attached to a Puch 250 SGS – if there are others out there, let me know!

Youtube: Jawa Velorex commercial

Youtube video

If I was really patient and resourceful I would hold out for a Hungarian Duna….

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